Propagation Analysis of Pu Radionuclides as a Result of Fire Incidents in the Exclusion Zone of the Chernobyl NPP in April 2020

Keywords: Chernobyl NPP, Pu isotopes and 241Am, release of radioactive substances, fire zon, distribution of radionuclides


In consequence of nuclear accidents that have occurred in various parts of the world, radioactive contamination of the environment is observed. The risks of spreading pollution can increase during floods, fires and some natural disasters. The lack of effective measures that aimed at eliminating possible sources of fire in the meadow zone and forest lands in the Chernobyl exclusion zone (ChEZ) leads to a high risk of fire emergence. The temporal and spatial distribution of fires shows that they occur throughout the ChEZ, including in the most contaminated areas. The risk of fires increases with climate change and measures to prevent them should be considered in emergency programs. ChEZ area is contaminated with long-lived radionuclides such as 137Cs, 90Sr, Pu isotopes (238Pu, 239 + 240Pu, 241Pu) and 241Am. As a result of forest fires radionuclides contained in wood and underlying surface are carried out into the atmosphere along with smoke. Diseases arising under the influence of ionizing radiation from Pu and 241Am isotopes pose a serious problem for human health. To assess of the spatial distribution of Pu isotopes and 241Am we used data on forest fires that occurred in the Chernobyl zone in April 2020. To evaluatе the dynamics of the release of radioactive substances into the atmosphere during fire incidents on the ChEZ territory, the following software products were used: NASA WorldView, HYSPLIT program. The HYSPLIT program allows to reconstruct the trajectories of radionuclide propagation in the atmosphere using meteorological data and to obtain a reliable picture of the distribution of radionuclides in the study area. The maps of the volumetric activity of Pu isotopes in the air and the fallout on the soil as a result of fires were obtained. It was found that the radioactivity due to the presence of this element in the air and during the fallout of radioactive particles on the soil is low (it reaches 1.0E-7...0.1 Bq/m3 in the air, 1.0E-6...1 Bq/m2 on the soil). The analysis of the propagation of Pu isotopes as a result of the movement of air masses in the places of fires in the exclusion zone of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and the associated dangers for the population and the environment has been carried out.


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How to Cite
КоzhevnikovaM., & Levenets, V. (2021). Propagation Analysis of Pu Radionuclides as a Result of Fire Incidents in the Exclusion Zone of the Chernobyl NPP in April 2020. East European Journal of Physics, (2), 161-168.